Local TD Seán Crowe has described this year’s forthcoming Budget as probably the most important in recent years and he is calling for an increase in investment.
He said that due to years of austerity, and with the uncertainty that Brexit has now brought, Ireland is clearly at a crossroads, and we can either go forward from here or get dragged back.
The Sinn Féin TD was speaking after meeting members of the South Dublin Chamber of Commerce along with his party colleague, Eoin Ó Broin TD, in the Red Cow Moran Hotel.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Ireland is clearly at a crossroads- we can go forward or back. We need serious capital investment, but worryingly the minority Fine Gael/Independent government appears committed to cuts in taxes, as well as the further privatisation and downgrading of essential services.
“The current level of public investment is simply too low to provide for services and infrastructure that is so desperately needed by our citizens, and to ensure that we build an inclusive society.
“The continued lack of public investment by consecutive Government’s has created crises and shortages in our health and education service, in housing and transport, and in childcare provision.
“The need for public investment has been highlighted by groups and organisations as diverse as IBEC, ESRI, NERI, TASC, the EU Commission, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and Social Justice Ireland.
Mr Crowe also said that the UK’s decision to leave the EU is going to have an effect on this country and we need to start coming up with ways to deal with this eventuality otherwise we could jeopardise our own economic health.
“We know that Brexit, and the uncertainty that it has created, could potentially have a disastrous impact on Ireland’s economy or recovery, and it could reinforce partition and create further division.
“It is clear that we need new ideas and new approaches.
“Sinn Féin is committed to a sustainable capital investment programme, one that sees housing, health, education, childcare provision, and transport, as essential social and economic pillars. Our small and medium businesses need greater supports and access to finances. The need for real and sustainable jobs demands a new approach.
“Our plan would bring public investment to 2.5% of Gross National Product in 2017. This is the base from which to rebuild our society after the devastation of Fianna Fáil’s bank bailout and the years of Fine Gael and Labour’s austerity.
“Our plan is fully costed, fully achievable, and will grow our economy as we move forward.
“The shape and direction of Budget 2017 is probably the most important decision that TDs will be asked to make in recent years. Ireland is clearly at a crossroads where we can go forward or get dragged back to more austerity and shortages.
“Sinn Féin’s proposals will move Ireland forward and rebuild our broken health and public services.”